March 30, 2011
Salomé (USA) 1923
The career-ending film of producer Alla Nazimova. Based on the Oscar Wilder play -- and the drawings of Aubrey Beardsley -- this is
considered one of the first "art" films made in the US. Directed by Charles Bryant -- and this film would end his movie career as well --
the supposed husband of Alla Nazimova. They divorced -- it was a marriage of convenience -- after this film lost most of the $350,000
it took to produce it.
There are two theories as to why this film failed at the box and both may be true. The first says that the film was way ahead of its time
and the second is that a rumor going around about everybody in the cast being "gay" -- a term that probably wasn't in general use at the time -- killed its chances. Many -- or so the story goes -- in the cast were gay and Nazimova made no secret of her orientation.
Who cares? What's interesting is what some other people were doing with film back then and this oddity -- for want of a better word -- is
a nice sliver of film history. Some nice stuff going on.